ABINGDON, Md., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Two sheriff's deputies were shot and killed in a busy Maryland shopping center by a gunman who was allegedly targeting police, officials said.
The suspect, identified as 67-year-old David Evans, described by police as homeless, also was killed in the confrontation in the town about 30 miles outside Baltimore. The Harford County Sheriff's Office would not name the two deputies killed. Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler said one had been on the force for 30 years, working in the courts services division, and the other was a 16-year veteran assigned to the community services division.
"Today is a sad day for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, and the citizens of Harford County who we are sworn to serve," Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler said. "It is with great sadness that I tell you that both deputies shot earlier this morning have succumbed to their injuries."
Investigators said the incident unfolded in about 15 minutes, beginning when a deputy was called to a Panera Bread restaurant about 11:45 a.m. for a man causing a problem. The deputy sat down beside the man, asked how he was doing and was shot in the head in front of restaurant patrons.
The gunman allegedly fled the restaurant toward a senior living complex. At least one deputy caught up with him and gunshots were exchanged. The suspect died at the scene. The second deputy died at the hospital.
Two other deputies who fired weapons at the scene have been placed on administrative leave pending a further investigation.
Gov. Larry Hogan said the deaths of the two law enforcement officers was "nothing less than absolutely heartbreaking."
"The first lady and I send our most sincere thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of the brave deputies who made the ultimate sacrifice today for the community they selflessly served. It is my hope that their commitment and dedication to law enforcement and protecting others will be remembered and will forever serve as an inspiration to others," he said.
Authorities said Evans had at least two outstanding warrants in two states, including one from Florida for assaulting a police officer, and fleeing and eluding.